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Here is how you can land a plum job at asset management firms


His is not an isolated case, and there are many job aspirants looking to join the mutual fund industry. Human Resources (HR) professionals from the mutual fund (MF) industry will corroborate this hiring trend. “These candidates are those who start studying financial markets and build their portfolios while studying for CA. We get requests where CAs send us their portfolios or case studies on different stocks and want to discuss them with the fund managers. Such candidates definitely get preference over those who may just send their CV,” said Manoj Chaudhary, Head- HR, Edelweiss AMC.

Anatomy of a mutual fund company

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Anatomy of a mutual fund company

Investment research is one of the options that people looking to build a career in the MF industry can look at. In this article, Mint explains to you the different roles in a MF company, qualifications required to get hired in those roles and the salaries on offer.

Emerging roles

As online is becoming a key sales channel to sell products, it is only natural that digital business and marketing roles are among the lucrative positions currently in AMCs. There’s a separate digital business team in most AMCs and maximum jobs are in this area right now, as per industry experts.

However, this may be restricted to bigger AMCs as the smaller ones typically have one or two people heading the digital business vertical with support from an external agency.

Currently, maximum churn is in the compliance department. The reason for it could be attributed to Sebi tightening regulations around governance risk and compliance that came in force in January. “AMCs are now required to have a trustee officer and risk officer and depending on the size of the AMC, the risk management team too has to be strengthened. Talent pool for risk management profiles is not available in the industry as the industry never nurtured risk and it is a new phenomenon. In this case, people in the compliance teams are taking over the additional mantle or moving from compliance to risk. With the average salaries in compliance still not lucrative enough, employees are not willing to take the additional pressure,” CEO of a small-size AMC, who did not wish to be named, told Mint.

To contain this churn, salaries in the junior-level and mid-level positions in compliance have increased by up to 50% in the last one year.

Mandatory requirement for a risk management team came in April and hence, currently, it is one of the roles for which AMCs are actively hiring. Mid-senior professionals with prior experience in risk management are the desired candidates for such roles. While CAs and CS may also get a job in governance risk management basis their degrees, it is advised that they get risk certification for career progression. “Interested candidates, especially CS and CAs, can get PRMIA (Professional Risk Managers’ International Association) certification in enterprise risk to become a versatile risk professional. Once an outsider with suitable experience penetrates the industry, fund houses won’t be too keen on hiring CS as their expertise is limited in this domain,” the CEO said.

Who gets hired

A majority of the hiring at AMCs happens through business schools placements for roles across investment analysis, sales and marketing. Among business schools, students from tier-1 colleges are preferred, especially for research and investment roles.

“For research analyst roles, we look for candidates who are professionally qualified CA/CFA or have an MBA from a tier-1 institute, while for investment risk management, along with these qualifications FRM (Financial Risk Manager) certification is also required,” said Himanshu Misra, Head of HR, Axis Mutual Fund.

Nikhil Bhende, head of HR, ICICI Prudential AMC, too, listed out the same qualifications a candidate needs to have. “We hire either candidates with an MBA in finance specialization from higher ranked institutes or CAs in analyst roles,” he said.

Hiring in direct research analyst roles is not frequent, given the limited strength of the research team at the AMCs. Candidates looking to build a career in investment research can look at starting as product developers. “A lot of people look for career progression from product to investment functions,” said Chaudhary. This is because a product developer has a thorough understanding of existing and new products, as they are responsible for a range of product related functions–from positioning to forming the sales pitch, and product documentation and maintenance of reports, and hence hold the required skill set to move in investment roles through internal job postings.

Nippon India MF claims to be an equal opportunity employer and actively hires candidates from tier-2 and tier-3 MBA colleges as well. “While it is advantageous to have qualifications from tier-1 MBA colleges, it’s not a limiting factor for us. In the past, we have hired candidates who had an MCom degree but had worked their way up in the industry,” said Rajesh Derhgawen, CHRO, Nippon India Mutual Fund.

Qualifications required for hiring in sales roles include post graduates in finance, commerce, or marketing. National Institute of Securities Market (NISM) VA certification holders have an edge over other candidates. Though NISM certification is compulsory for only direct client facing sales roles, almost all big AMCs have made it a mandatory requirement for hiring across all roles.

Though the sales department contains various roles, such as retail sales, institutional sales, business development; key requirements in terms of qualifications and skills during hiring for these different roles are largely the same. “There will be slight distinctions for a few select roles. For instance, for a business development or key relationship role, we look for a person who can go out to seek new growth opportunities and form strategic partnerships. Whereas the core channel sales roles focus on selling the products to the customers. Attitude in terms of passion, hunger and drive differentiates an average candidate from a high performing one,” said Chaudhary.

As for salaries, investment and research professionals have the highest salaries in AMCs, followed by risk management and marketing (see table).

The role of CFAs

During recruitments, CFA charters get an edge while being evaluated for analyst or investment research roles. Derhgawen said qualifications like these add as boosters to a candidate’s profile. “It (CFA certification) adds value in making the candidate/employee better skilled or equipped to deliver better in their role,” he said.

The CFA program involves three levels of exams that rigorously tests the fundamentals of portfolio research, wealth planning, types of investments and valuing assets. CFA certification is one of the sought after qualifications for hiring in investment research or analyst roles.

“In the MF industry, when one is hiring for a fund manager or a CIO (chief investment officer), the first port of call would be that the candidate should be a CFA charter holder,” said Anil Ghelani, Senior VP, head – passive investments and products, DSP Investment Managers.

But, what makes this professional certification so desirable?

“The CFA program equips the candidates with T-shaped skills, which means they have a broad range of skills and at the same time in-depth knowledge of the industry and its tools,” said Arati Porwal, Head of India, CFA Institute.

Apart from providing deeper knowledge, the CFA program is built on a strong foundation of ethics, said Ghelani, who is a CFA charter himself. “The core component of the CFA program across all three levels is ethics, which is the need of the hour to hire professionals who will always put the investors first,” he said.

Eleven clearing CFA level 1 makes candidates worthy of hiring in AMCs, said HR Heads of all the AMCs that Mint spoke to.

It should be pointed out that CFAs are not just hired for investment roles in an AMC, but for all kinds of other functions such as product development, dealers, risk management and sales. In fact, CFAs play a key role in the sales department as sales professionals in the MF industry need to have workable technical knowledge of investments and MFs.

“Sales roles in the MF industry have shifted from relationship sales to investment sales. It is common to see CFAs head sales departments in AMCs,” said Ghelani.

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